Atty Must Give Law School Lectures As Punishment via Law360

Posted on 08-02-2016 by
Tags: Industry Insights & Trends , LIT , lawschool , Law school

The article below has been republished in full courtesy of Law360, written by Cara Salvatore . 

Law360, New York (July 19, 2016, 8:47 PM ET) -- An Oklahoma federal judge on Tuesday ordered a lawyer to give lectures at the University of Tulsa's law school as punishment for botching a lawsuit over unwanted sales calls he claimed were the work of a supplement company.

In May 2014, while a law student, Caleb Salmon filed a suit over the cellphone calls in which he had a number of Doe defendants. Eventually, he replaced one of those Does with Nutra Pharma Corp. But NPC said it never should have been dragged into the litigation. A judge agreed that its presence as a defendant was unwarranted.

U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan ordered Salmon, now a sole practitioner, to give one lecture each semester for the next four semesters at the University of Tulsa College of Law on “the danger of filing a lawsuit as a licensed legal intern or a new attorney without proper supervision from a more experienced attorney.”

Salmon must also pay $3,000 in attorneys' fees to the other side.

Judge Eagan adopted the punishments from the recommendations of a magistrate judge.

His letter to the school offering to speak to the students on the mistake of filing a suit without the help of an experienced pair of eyes “should be submitted to the magistrate judge before it is sent to the dean, and the magistrate judge also recommends that plaintiff be required to submit a script or detailed outline to him for approval before speaking to the law students,” Judge Eagan said.

NPC had requested $8,350 in attorneys' fees, but the magistrate judge looked at the financials of Salmon's sole law practice and found that he would not be able to pay that. The $3,000 compromise was a “balance of the severity of plaintiff’s misconduct and the reality of plaintiff’s ability to pay a monetary sanction,” Judge Eagan said.

Salmon had looked online and traced some of the phone numbers that called him back to people and business entities that included a man named Steve Gewecke, Morningstar Marketing and Consulting LLC and MyNyloxin Group, which Salmon said were distributing NPC-manufactured goods. But the mistake he made was in also adding NPC itself.

NPC filed a motion for sanctions against Salmon in March 2015, saying, “The method by which plaintiff identified Nutra Pharma as one of the John Doe defendants responsible for making unsolicited calls to plaintiff is, in a word, absurd.”

Salmon's naming of NPC implies that NPC is “responsible for telephone calls selling a product that Nutra Pharma does not sell, on a website that Nutra Pharma does not own, by an individual that is not a director, officer or employee of Nutra Pharma,” it said.

According to NPC's filing, Salmon was a licensed legal intern at Stoops LaCourse PLLC when he filed the suit.

Salmon is represented by himself.

NPC is represented by Daniel DeSouza of DeSouza Law PA, and Thomas Askew and William James of Riggs Abney Neal Turpen Orbison & Lewis.

The case is Salmon v. CRST Expedited Inc., case number 4:14-cv-00265, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

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